How to Recognize a High Potential When You See One

A High Potential is an employee who has been assessed as having the ability, organizational commitment, and motivation to rise to, and succeed at more senior roles in an organization. Every organization needs them in their leadership pipeline to replace older executives who retire or depart. The big question is how can you recognize this level of talent without doing an in-depth behavioral assessment?

Here are some common personality and leadership attributes to look for:

  • Mentally Agile – Quickly grasps difficult concepts and makes fresh connections that others have missed.
  • Leads Change – Never satisfied with the status quo, introduces new “slants”, and takes the heat of resistance.
  • Situationally Responsive – Self-aware, driven, resourceful, and beats the odds to drive results.
  • Intellectually Curious – Comfortable with complexity and ambiguity, and seeks to continuously learn new things.
  • Ability and Willingness to deal effectively with first-time experiences – successes, failures, etc